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Good-bye Perl 6, hello Raku

November 12, 2019.

Camelia, the Raku mascot.

Camelia, the Raku mascot. © Larry Wall.

Rumors of a name change for Perl 6, derived from the script language developed by Larry Wall in 1987, had been swirling for months. The thing is, Perl 6 is fundamentally incompatible with Perl 5, and many programmers don’t believe that the two are even part of the same family. The Perl 6 community is split between those who think that Perl 6 is a sister language to Perl 5, and those who think of Perl 6 as a successor to Perl 5. When the idea of a new name for this latest iteration was floated, the only question was, which name? The two finalists were Camelia and Raku, with Raku winning out when Larry Wall gave it the deciding vote at PerlCon 2019, in Riga. As expected, the change unleashed quite the controversy within the community. Indeed, the old name, Perl 6, had been in use for some 20 years already, and many members of the community had invested a lot of time, effort and emotional energy developing and defending Perl 6. Which made the change gut-wrenching. But open-source is nothing without drama. Long live Raku !

YouTube, “Larry Wall greeting PerlCon attendees in Riga 2019.”

The Register, Thomas Claburn, “We, Wall, we, Wall, Raku: Perl creator blesses new name for version 6 of text-wrangling lingon.”